The Logbook: Taking the Wheel with Eliza Cruz
Carriers • Published on March 4, 2020
Convoy is dedicated to better understanding the everyday experiences and problems carriers face behind the wheel. Today, we sit down with Eliza Cruz from Sacramento, California to talk about moving to the United States from Guatemala and building a family-first business. Beep Beep Trucking first began using Convoy to find and book local loads in December 2016.
Convoy: Welcome Eliza! We are so excited to have one of our experienced California carriers speaking with us. How are you doing today?
Eliza Cruz: Thank you, I’m doing well.
Convoy: I want to start by getting to know your history better. How did you and your family get involved in transportation?
Eliza: I knew of the industry because my husband’s family were all truck drivers. He had been driving since he was 18. When we moved to the States from Guatemala, my husband started driving for a small company around all 48 states.
As of right now, we’ve been driving for eight years under our own authority and we own a family business in California. Building this company was a way for us to raise our family in the United States while also working to provide for our family and children’s education. My kids are 20, 17, and 7 years old.
Convoy: How does your family life impact your time on the road?
Eliza: As of three years ago, it was only my husband driving. Over the last few years, the lack of drivers in California has impacted our ability to find drivers for our three trucks, which is why I started helping out driving.
Driving isn’t my passion in life, but I do this work to keep us from going backwards. We worked very hard to build our company up to three trucks, and I thought, I would rather learn to drive than lose a truck.
The motivation behind us working so much, to keep going and going, is our kids. It’s been hard and easy at the same time. My youngest child definitely needs me at home, but my 20-year-old decided to stay local for college so he can help out at home if I’m gone or get stuck on a shipment. It’s heartbreaking to be away from your family and see them grow, but I do what I can to provide for their future.
Saving time with power only loads
Convoy: Is this why your carrier mainly hauls local shipments with Convoy?
Eliza: Staying local is why we started working with Convoy. When we first started, Convoy had the local lane we were looking for, and it was a great partnership. This specific lane that we run with Convoy allows me to go out to work driving, and come back and still have 5-6 hours with my family. If I start driving 10 hours to LA, I’ll miss out on that family time.
Convoy: How are you making sure whenever Convoy posts this lane, your company is the one taking it?
Eliza: I’m always connected to my devices to make sure I get these shipments whenever they are available. It’s hard because even when I’m home with my family I have to keep my eyes on the computer, my phone, and my tablet. I’m able to automatically add my bid to the lane I run with Convoy, but I need to be connected when Convoy alerts me that my bid was accepted.
Convoy: You’ve also done quite a bit of power only shipments. Why is this type of freight so attractive to small businesses like yourself?
Eliza: We save a lot of hours getting loaded or unloaded at facilities with power only shipments. Power only also helps with our scheduling and managing our drivers’ Hours of Service because the pickup usually has a window so drivers can go whenever it’s most convenient.
There are benefits of not using your own equipment as well. When you own your own trailer, you have a lot of maintenance you need to pay on it to repair any damage to the trailer walls and floor. With power only I don’t have to spend as much time having my own equipment serviced or replacing worn tires.
Convoy: Your company has worked with us since 2016 and you’ve had a ton of experience working with us. Over the last five years how has the industry changed?
Eliza: When I first started with Convoy, I was mostly dispatching and I worked with many other companies. The most important people in this business are the drivers. They are the ones making things happen, not the people behind the desk. The drivers have to deal with so many bad things at the shippers and receivers. And how every single driver is treated at facilities can make or break them wanting to work under my authority.
When Convoy started, they made us as carriers feel important. The drivers loved the way Convoy treated them over the phone, and how they were so nice whenever they reached out. That’s what made Convoy so different.
Convoy: How has Convoy saved you time in this industry?
Eliza: The app itself makes it extremely easy for drivers. It’s easy for drivers to understand and it’s so helpful for drivers to be organized in their details. As a dispatcher, it also helps keep me organized.
With brand new drivers who have never visited a facility or know what’s required to get paid, Convoy’s QuickPay™ and billing process takes a lot off of their plate. I love that my drivers can upload their paperwork for billing directly in the app. Especially since I am also driving, I need everything to be paperless. Paperwork is in the app or on carrier web, and with their document review team, I don’t have to confirm signatures or match pickup numbers to invoices before billing because they follow up with me immediately if I’m missing something.